As you are planning your first day of class, start out in a way that makes all students feel valued and included. Joan Klinkner and I attended an amazing conference this summer on Gender Creative Early Learners. Our keynote speaker Jess Dallman shared this business card with the group. Instead of saying Ladies or Men etc try a gender neutral term or phrase like “Good morning everyone,” “And for you” or “Welcome in today.” This is a simple change to making everyone fee valued and acknowledged.
Always remember: Don’t allow personal attacks AND don’t personalize remarks. This can be very challenging as everyone’s first response to “personalize” the situation. A key tool in any learning environment is successful and respectful interaction with learners (and the work / team environment too!!!). When communicating (verbally, in writing, or face to face) and corresponding with learners (colleagues) about “heated moments” It is prudent to ‘depersonalize’ the communication /correspondence by not using “you” and “I” but referencing the “issue” and the “course of action or resolution”.
For example if a student email states “You gave me a 69% on the last quiz and I don’t think it was fairly graded.” A response might look something like this: “Thank you for the email inquiry regarding performance on the LP 6 quiz. In review of the quiz, questions 4, 5 and 9 were not thoroughly / accurately addressed. Content focusing on the specific types of elder abuse; who are the most common perpetrators, and the four requirements for reporting elder abuse would have greatly improved performance on the quiz.”
It takes conscious thought and effort to develop this communication philosophy but take it from me ….. it most often does defuse the “heated moment” and directs attention to the issue at hand.
Marinette campus nursing students hold a wellness event while enrolled in a class titled, Health Promotion. Students work in pairs or trios to bring health related information to other students, as well as faculty an staff who attend the event. Topics are chosen from the Healthy People initiatives and are specific to young and middle age adults. It is a fun and highly engaging event where students work with a population that is different than they typically do as clinical usually is centered around disease processes. Examples of topics include: distracted & impaired driving, stress management, sleep, exercise, nutrition, smoking cessation, eye safety in the workplace, ergonomics, and the list goes on. It has been a great way to bring students together from many different programs.
Yes, we’ve all heard of C.A.T.’s, the use of Classroom Assessment Technique, but what are the D.O.G.’s?
Have you ever heard this from an instructor, professor, or boss? Well some of our students might have or feel this way when it comes to asking questions before, during or after class. We all know when it comes to asking questions, or concerns about an assignments, that the student is quite shy as they don’t want to bother us, or worst case scenario don’t want to feel STUPID…..Well the best way to assist with this process is with “Peer to Peer” mentoring or as I have titled this: M.A.P.S= “Motivating a Positive Success”
Introduction to Clinical Practice is the first nursing clinical that students will encounter in either the Practical or Associate Degree Nursing programs. The setting for this clinical is the long-term care environment and often where students will encounter clients who may take a numerous amount of medications. Nursing Pharmacology is taught in the first semester as well—–students will start with pharmacology and then move in to clinical once they have some information under their belts. As instructors, we strive to bring the “classroom into the clinical”! Last semester, I had the pleasure of taking over a Pharmacology classroom for a colleague while teaching the clinical associated with the pharmacology class. LIGHTS BULBS WENT OFF! I knew students were struggling with pharmacology in the clinical setting as well as the classroom setting; how could I remedy this? Well, let me tell you what I did!
While watching “Maleficent”, I decided to get my scrapbooking material out. I had BRIGHT colored paper, my circle cutters, AND GLITTER GLUE! Shiny object syndrome was in full affect for me. I tend to recall things better with color and shininess (is that a word?), so maybe my students would too! I began cutting multiple circles of many many different bright colors. I grabbed my marker and started writing medication names on those circles. Before I knew it, the glitter glue was on those circles as I traced the medication names with the glitter glue and my table was FULL of “pills”. Once they dried, I punched holes in the top and put a ring through them. I now had a “wheel of pills”. So you are probably wondering, “what in the world are you going to do with those things?” Well, let me tell you………………………………….
I carried this “wheel of pills” in my scrub pockets at clinical. Randomly throughout clinical, I would pull out the “Wheel of pills”, approach a student and ask them to “pick a pill”. I would then proceed to ask them to tell me what the medication was and what they know about that medication. At first, students were panicked. HOWEVER, eventually, the students started asking me to pull the “Wheel of pills” out and to ask them questions. Towards the end of clinical near the end of the semester with a Pharmacology FINAL exam looming over them, students would play games with the “Wheel of Pills”. It was great to see them accept this strategy so readily as was watching them bring that classroom learning into clinical AND clinical learning into the classroom! It has been a HUGE success and I will for sure continue with it!
As I mentioned in an early SPARK, the first week of classes can be very monotonous and mechanical. We give the students the syllabus, expect them to read it ( some are about 15+ pages long!) and sign it. I suspect most students jump to the last page and answer a few questions about the syllabus/course and sign it.
I teach English Language Learner (ELL) courses. These are non-tuition bearing courses, so without students having any “skin” in the game, tardiness and absenteeism were becoming an issue in my courses.
I decided during the first week of class, the students would have input into the attendance portion of the syllabus. I was nervous the first time I did this as I was unsure what they would create for their attendance policy. However, I was pleasantly surprised how professional the students were and detailed in their policy. Below is a “typical” attendance policy the students come up with for the class:
Attendance Policy- Students may be absent two times in a semester as long as it is an approved absence. Approved absences are illness, child is ill, car accident, car problems, work, or a death in the family. Students must email the instructor if absent.
Tardiness Policy- Students are considered late if they are more than 10 minutes late to class. Two tardies will equal one absence.
Since the students created the attendance/tardiness policy, I really do not have to enforce it as they hold each other accountable.
As instructors, the first week of classes becomes very mechanical for us. We have the students print the syllabus, read the syllabus and sign the syllabus. During one of those monotonous classes, I decided to ask the students to define the word syllabus and I was surprised that not one student really knew what a syllabus was.
Now, I have the students look up the word syllabus and write a definition. I spend time in class discussing that a syllabus is contract between the instructor and the student. We talk about expectations students can have of the instructor and what expectations the instructor has of the students. I also emphasis that they should never sign a contract without reading it in its entirety.
By taking the time up front to discuss what a syllabus is, I have found that I am answering less questions about what is due and when. Students are prepared for class and I have fewer attendance issues.